By Paola Masman on OpEd News
There was a time not so long ago when trade agreements weren’t considered a “topic of interest” for the general American public. Occasionally, a reporter would cover the subject, only to continue the “free trade is good” rhetoric. If a person was against a “free trade agreement,” that person was considered a protectionist and an outcast. Fast forwarding to April 2016, we can see that the tables have turned and the new outcast is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
TPP has come under fire from all sides. It’s not just New Zealand , Malaysia , Japan , Australia , Mexico , Canada , who have held countless protests with hundreds of thousands of people involved, its also our current presidential candidates. GOP candidates Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz have publicly denounced the deal calling it “the worst deal for America.” Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has criticized the deal since negotiations first began. Not far behind is former Secretary of State Clinton, although she has left herself some wriggle room by criticizing the TPP “in its current form.”
To add more fuel to the fire, key Congresspersons have stood up against the “status quo” long before it was “cool” to be against the TPP. Representative Tom Reed, (R-NY-23) who sits on Ways and Means Subcommittee declared his position against the TPP . Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), former USTR opposes TPP . Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Representative Bruce Poliquin (R-ME-2), and more.
Earlier this month during our D.C. fly-in, I realized just how real this war has become. What once seemed like a futile fight has turned into a David and Goliath fight where middle class America seems to be putting up a real fight against corporate giants.
There is still so much that needs to be done. One particular Democratic office mentioned to me, “We voted no for TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) and will most likely vote no for TPP, but we were told that Vice President Joe Biden will be making his rounds to all Democratic offices and push for a yes vote on TPP. How are we supposed to look at our VP and tell him we disagree?”
I wanted to respond “BY GROWING A BACK BONE!” But respectfully I nodded, showed him the facts and urged him to keep in mind his constituents who have been ruthlessly hurt by trade agreements in the past.
Meanwhile all the uproar against TPP, President Obama visits Europe and speaks in favor of the US-EU equivalent of the TPP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and said he was confident that the TPP would pass one the primary race was over. During his stay in Europe, protests against TTIP bursted from all over the EU, denouncing TTIP.
A recent poll showed that out of 10,000 registered voters, 34 percent of Republican voters oppose the TPP compared to 24 percent who support it. 75 percent of Democratic voters are against it. And 30 percent of independents oppose it in comparison to 22 percent who support it.
How much longer can the White House push something that the majority of people don’t want?